14 March 2007
Salaam = Peace
Tonight the mission to eat dinner at Salaam was accomplished. I went earlier in the week to discover that they don't serve dinner Sunday through Tuesday. Wednesday, however was a different story. After slipping into an alley off of Court Street, the plot unfolded.
There are a few details worth noting about Salaam. First, Salaam used to be a hookah bar/restaurant in a former life before the statewide smoking ban. In those days, it was known as Shisha Cafe.
Also, Salaam has no liquor license. It is BYOB. They have a $1.50 beverage service fee which is referred to as corkage fee here in civilization. That means you can spend $701.68 on a bottle of 1990 Guigal Cote Rotie La Mouline which should pair wonderfully with the Mediterranean fare, and you and your date will only have to shell out $3 to have it poured for you. What service!
Salaam typically features entertainment in the evenings, which varies from Dimitar Zarev playing classical guitar in the Bulgarian style to the good old fashioned belly dancing accompaniment on other nights. Dimitar plays in a classical style that closely resembles Spanish guitar. He plays more traditional numbers as well as Classical Gas.
The food is a hodge podge of Mediterranean cuisines, with Greek, Moroccan and Middle Eastern cuisine. They offer hummus, baba gannouj, vegetarian grape leaves and a combination platter for appetizers. There are specials every night. Although many items on the menu and in specials feature lamb, there are often vegetarian and vegan alternatives to these items.
The baba gannouj is quite good. It comes with warm pita bread and olives. At a previous visit, the vegan harira was very good. It is a hearty vegetable stew made with tomato and lentils.
Tonight was a spanakopita night. Feta, spinach and dill wrapped in crispy phyllo pastry served alongside a green salad with cubed feta and a raspberry vinaigrette really hit the spot.
Although the hours are a pinch tricky to navigate, Salaam offers a great variety of vegetarian dining options. They also feature a fantastic wall mural, which was painted by Khoa Dang-Nguyen, a Vietnamese man with a son in school at Ohio University.